Monday, October 23, 2017/Categories: Parish News
Dear parishioners of Baileyville and St. Benedict,
Greetings! My name is Reginald Saldanha. My family and friends call me ‘Regie’, and so you can call me Father Regie. I am excited to be starting as your new pastor. Having grown up in a farming family in Southern India, I am very happy to come to Baileyville and St. Benedict.
First, a little about myself: I was born on the 23rd of December 1965; one of ten children to my parents, (six boys and four girls) and I was the 9th. I grew up in Mangalore (City with a population of over half a million) in the State of Karnataka in South India. As a Mangalorean, I grew up in a very devout Catholic family where the rule of the day was “no rosary, no dinner”. Catholic faith was brought to us by the Portuguese missionaries around the 16th century. St. Francis Xavier, the Jesuit priest was very instrumental in evangelizing my region. The deep devotion to the Blessed Mother in our place gave rise to three vocations in my family – two priests and a nun.
From my early childhood, I had a great desire to be a missionary priest. With the help of my brother priest and some friends, I eventually joined a missionary diocese in Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific. After the completion of my priestly formation in India, I was ordained in the year 1997. Soon after my ordination, I left for New Guinea for my first assignment. After the initial culture shock, I came to love every minute of my ministry in New Guinea. (If you want to know more about New Guinea, prepare a nice dinner and invite me over). After serving the Lord for seven years in New Guinea, I decided to look for a new place for my ministry. The rise of local vocations in New Guinea and also loneliness due to lack of contact or communication with the outside world led me to my decision. So with the help of a friend priest from India who was working in Wichita Diocese then, I petitioned the Archdiocese of Kansas City for a place for ministry and I was cordially invited.
On the 19th of April 2005, I arrived in Kansas with a lot of fear and anxiety.
First of all, I never imagined myself working in the US as my calling was to work as a missionary among the poor and America was too rich for me. Secondly, I felt I would be lost in this sophisticated society after spending six years in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. It’s an understatement to say that I was very overwhelmed in the beginning. I felt like a caveman coming into the city.
My first assignment in the Archdiocese was at Holy Trinity in Lenexa. I was amazed at the love and welcome received from the parishioners which made my transition so smooth and joyful. After serving in that parish for three and half years, in October of 2008, I was sent as a pastor of three small parishes in Osawatomie, Mound City and LaCygne. I served in these parishes till December of 2015 before I left for a six‐month Human Formation and Spirituality Renewal Program. Upon my return last July, I was assigned as the associate pastor at Ascension Parish in Overland Park.
I have enjoyed all my assignments in which I have been able to serve the people of the archdiocese. The experience of being able to minister to the people of God has been rewarding and I always feel greatly blessed. And I am glad to let you know that I have made Kansas my home. In 2008, I was incardinated as a priest of the Archdiocese and in 2015 I became a US citizen. Last year I was privileged to vote for the first time in an US election; but what a choice I had…! I have been very blessed in every place I’ve been and now I am excited to be at Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s parishes. I look forward to my time as your pastor. Please pray for me as I begin this exciting new assignment and know of my prayers for each of you.
Wishing you and all your families every blessing,
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